Creative Tricks of the Trade — Copy
Alice was your typical, sweet, middle-aged neighbor lady. Kind of short and chubby, round face, glasses ... not too polished looking. Small town, not suburban. Friendly, folksy. She would have worn a housedress, not a pantsuit. This was the Current customer at the time. (As with most customers, the Current buyer has evolved over time and now is probably younger, more hip, more suburban.)
The point is, you need to know your targeted audience/customer well enough to be able to write copy as though you were carrying on a conversation with this individual— NOT a GROUP of customers. Nameless. Faceless.
I apply this same technique to all my projects, but I've always called it the Alice Wiens Approach to Writing Copy. I applied it when I did a business-to-business lead generation program for AT&T to Farmland Co-op Managers and used the office manager from the co-op where I worked in high school ... I use it when I write to physicians and think of my college roommate who became a surgeon ... I used it when I wrote copy promoting the Christie Brinkley Beyond Beauty Newsletter (that never launched!) and thought of my hip, 40-something friend/colleague Cynde.
Now, whether I'm writing a letter to generate leads for business phone systems or lab equipment, a brochure selling insurance, or catalog copy conjuring up the benefits of buying English muffins by mail, I always apply the Alice Wiens approach to writing copy. It's a trick that's served me well.
And if I don't personally know an "Alice Wiens" who fits the description of my targeted audience, I ask my clients to give me the names and phone numbers of people who do. Then I call them and talk to them to find out, in their own words, what matters most to them. The result is copy that's credible, convincing, and personal … copy that motivates response.